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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Health Study Shows Adolescents Whose Families Move are Less Likely to Graduate from High School

Students who move at least once over a 12-month period are 50 percent less likely to get a high school diploma by age 25, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis – Brown School Public Health Programs.


[Photo:  Dr. Molly W. Metzger]

Researchers analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health that followed adolescents into early adulthood. Adolescents were asked how many times they had moved over a 12-month period, with responses ranging from zero to 10.

The analysis found that students who moved were less likely to graduate, even if they moved to an economically healthier neighborhood.  Single and multiple moves within the 12-month period were equally disruptive.

“Our findings provide further evidence that housing mobility represents a developmental risk for educational outcomes,” wrote the study’s lead author, Dr. Molly W. Metzger, assistant professor at WashU. “Housing policies and programs that promote mobility must consider potentially meaningful unintended consequences for youth and families.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published May 16 in Social Science Research. Co-authors were Dr. Patrick J. Fowler, Assistant Professor at the Brown School; Dr. Courtney Anderson, Assistant Professor at Georgia State University; and Dr. Constance A. Lindsay, Lecturer at American University.

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